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Aug 20, 2008: Must... kill...

I've long advocated for banning the term "redesign" from design discussions. (Crazy me, but I just think it's a good idea to keep clear of time-boxed projects that are ill-conceived and ultimately a waste of effort and money.) I think terms like "refine" and "tune" do a far better job of describing what we should be doing: instituting ongoing processes that help our sites evolve in response to a multitude of changing variables.

I hate to sound like a fascist, but I think "build community" ought to be the next one we throw on the pyre. Dunno, maybe I've read too many RFPs of late, but what the hell is it supposed to mean? Is it truly achievable? Is it even a good idea? How many organizations really want a community on their hands to repeatedly feed, burp, and diaper? I think what we mean is that we want to "better engage with more people". But until we find a replacement term, can we just bite our tongues instead of using this ridiculous, meaningless phrase?

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Comment: Brenda (Aug 21, 2008)

Amen, brother. Although, "build community" is at least a little more accurate than the client request for "social media" on their next site. I recently saw a very large multinational corporation launch a site with a section called, literally, "Social Media Center". Ack.

Comment: Mary (Aug 21, 2008)

Especially since the solution to build a community is usually, "make a web site." And that's it.

Comment: Otto (Aug 22, 2008)

Except, of course, when a redesign + rewrite is called for. Check out the successful experience of YellowPages.com.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/3209320/Surviving-the-Big-Rewrite-Moving-YELLOWPAGES-COM-to-Rails-Presentation-1

They threw away 125,000 lines of Java code and ended up with a more functional site in 20,000 lines of Ruby/Rails code (including built-in testing). And they redesigned the site along the way.

Undoubtedly many redesigns and rewrites are failures. It's interesting to consider why some are astounding successes. Sometimes it does make sense to raze a building and put a better one in its place.

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